Studios urged to accelerate premium VoD

Movie studios, which in the past have engaged in half-hearted tests of premium video-on-demand (PVOD), ought instead to embrace it as both a potential driver of profits and a hedge against piracy, according to BTIG media analyst Richard Greenfield.

PVOD allows viewers to rent movies from pay TV operators at a premium price while they are still playing in theaters. Greenfield argued that the failure of PVOD tests can be blamed on the fact that no high-profile film was made available; that access to the films was too limited; that pricing for rentals was “out of whack;” and that studios feared alienating exhibitors. Forcing consumers to wait “for content to be made available via home entertainment is foolhardy when piracy is escalating at the same time that TVs are becoming IP-enabled,” Greenfield maintained. And while exhibitors understandably are likely to resist studios’ PVOD efforts, they could be a boon for cable and satellite operators.

“The industry must evolve, rather than focus on doing things the way they have been done for decades. … Studios need to do what is best for their industry, not protect exhibitor wealth.” In any event, Greenfield suggests that studios make only a limited number of films available via PVOD and restrict the number of viewers who can watch them.

“Eventise, Eventise, Eventise,” is Greenfield’s watchword for the industry.

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